Those Were the
Jobs 1955 -2011
I remember well the days of fiddling with 8MB of memory on a Performa 6200 and staying up till 5am, burning both ends of the candle, trying to solve Extensions conflicts. To this day I am a complete insomniac and cannot sleep at night.
Around 1995 came the Macintosh Performas with CD drives and modems and it was thanks mostly to this range of Macs that mainstream Mac consumerism began. Such was the thrill of being able to buy games on CD ROM! They were really popular. Everybody that I knew at the time also had either an Iomega© Zip Drive or a Syquest© drive - after using 1.4Mb clunky floppy disks, these drives were heaven!
I had my eye on the 9500 200Mhz machines, but most of us just could not afford them. A base configuration alone cost £3000 plus VAT. Back to the Performa.
Some settled for the PowerPC 7600, which was a great machine in its time, but the main concern for most of us was how to get hold of the very expensive memory modules. That was one of our biggest headaches. Boy, were they expensive! In April 1996, a 32Mb SIMM module cost £659 plus VAT (total: £774.32)
The internet was coming along nicely and by 1996 people were starting to sign up with an ISP. Compuserve was big back then. I got sick of paying BT over £300 a month in internet telephone bills and getting 56 pages of itemised calls. To say that one was "online" was akin to saying that you were from another planet, and people would try to avoid you (although we're talking Cumbria here, not London.)
Here in the UK, we had the wonderful innovative "MacFormat" magazine to guide us through all the ins and outs of the Mac. Alex Summersby was a wonderful Editor of the magazine and is missed by everyone who knew him for his work at MacFormat. Best Wishes for you, Alex, wherever you are now.
It was around this time in 1996 that I started the Cumbria MacUserGroup, to get together with other Mac users in Cumbria to share our Mac experiences and to offer technical support to those who sometimes had problems with their Macs. It was from the beginnings of this basic Mac teaching that I went on to develop structured teaching and courses for Mac beginners and then Mac School was born.
I made a trip to the Apple Store in Cupertino, California, which was like taking a personal pilgrimage to the source of all things Macintosh and tantamount to being in seventh heaven. Excuse me, I'm Mac crazy!
I was married and living in California at the time, and after that I used to visit the Apple store in Cupertino about once every two weeks - it was only about 40 minutes drive, "over the hill" on Highway 17, from our home in Santa Cruz. I also sometimes would go to conferences there in Building 3. I vividly remember the "boos" that Bill Gates got from the audience when he came up to present Office for the Mac!
In the fall of 2003 came the Mac
G5's, and for the first time the world has got
64 bit processing using Mac OSX. In time, OSX
will be the mainstream operating system for the
Mac. Love it or hate it, it's slowly getting
there. All of the new G5 Macs and G4 laptop
machines only boot from OSX (this is November
2003). The problem with all of this is that
there are an awful lot of Mac users who have a
heavy investment in OS9 application software and
who don't want to shell out thousands of ££££s
all over again to run them on OSX. There is now
also the new OSX Panther operating system that
has been released by Apple.
Update: May 2009
The fortunes of Apple were
hugely revised in the early 2000's by the
success of the iPod - a portable mp3 player and
also especially the Apple iTunes Store, from
where billions of paid music downloads have been
The old iBook became the
MacBook, the Powerbook G4 became the MacBook Pro
and the new
Of course, the high-end machine
is the Mac Pro - which has 4 cores per
processor and takes up to 32 Gb of memory -
imagine that! I have personally never seen
one, but they must be blitzingly fast
I have followed the Apple path.
I believed in all of it, I was there back
then, and stuck with the Mac through
everything, never contemplating any
alternative, and now we all see the results of
the work of Apple: millions of people now have
Macs. I still don't know how to use one of
those other machines and know that I will
never want to. I have never owned one.
I still have my old Mac Colour
Classic in England with 8 Mb of memory and
160Mb hard drive inside, although I have not
used it for over 10 years. I read that some
people have made tropical fish aquarium tanks
from them, but I could never do that.
Happily, if not somewhat sadly,
the old days have gone and most of us have
blitzingly fast Macs that are packed out with
everything, but the need for sharing our
knowledge of the Mac with beginners is greater
than ever, because word processing, digital
photography, movies and the internet have now
gone mainstream. I believe they call it web.2
and sadly, on the passing of
Steve Jobs, October 5th, 2011.
This article ©JL Farmer, 2003
& 2009 and may not to be used or reproduced
in any form